Syllabus: General Studies Paper 1 (Modern History): Whether State Reorganization affected the Federal Structure of India

india political map

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Syllabus: General Studies Paper 1 (Modern History)

Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country

 

Critically examine whether state reorganization on linguistic grounds affected the federal structure of India ( 15 Marks)

INTRODUCTION

At the time of independence in 1947, India consisted of 571 disjointed princely states that were merged together to form 27 states .The integration and merger of princely states was purely ad hoc arrangement and there was need for reorganization of states on a permanent basis on account of the haphazard growth of provinces, disparity between various states and multilingual nature of the states. State reorganization on linguistic basis has in fact strengthened our federal structure.

 

Why language was used as the criteria for the division of states ? 

  • It would lead to the local people participating in the administration in larger numbers because of being able to communicate in a common language. 
  • Governance would be made easier in areas, which shared linguistic and geographical features. 
  • This would lead to the development of vernacular languages, which had long been ignored by the British. 

1951 - indian states

States demanding recognition on linguistic basis.

  • In 1953, the government was forced to create a separate state of Andhra Pradesh(from then Madras) for Telugu-speaking people following the long-drawn agitation and death of Potti Sriramulu after a hunger strike for 56 days.
  • After Andhrapradesh , In 1960, as a result of agitation and violence, the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat were created by bifurcating the state of Bombay. 
  • In 1963, the state of Nagaland was formed to placate the Nagas. 
  • Creation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh recently
  • At present, the Indian Union consists of 29 states and seven union territories.

 

Linguistic reorganization has strengthened the cause of Indian unity :

  • Fazl Commission: This led to the demand for creation of states on linguistic basis from other parts of country The commission submitted its report after taking into account the wishes and claims of people in different regions.
  • The Division of states linguistic basis removed the major discord and disharmony among people.

For example:. Separation of Andhra from Madras addressed the agitation and protest by telugu people.

  • Creation of state which are homogeneous in nature improved the functioning of the state. The Government. has been able to better connect with the masses in the language in which they understand.

For example: Creation of Gujarat from Bombay resulted into betterment of people. This brought satisfaction and further caused the Indian Unity.

  • It did not affect the federal structure of the India as was feared. Rather it led to creation of state regional parties which can raise their voice in the Parliament. Hence, a more cooperative federalism and participative democracy thrived epitomizing unity in diversity.
  • 30 and the 347 provides constitutional protection to linguistic minorities and hence any fear of minority suppression was alleviated to a large extent.
  • It provided opportunity to the states to protect and promote their regional language which brought satisfied cultural aspiration of masses.

 For example. Adoption of Odia language as official language by Odisha.

  • Led to development of vernacular languagesand imparting of education in them, thus facilitating literacy. Development and adoption of vernacular language also enabled political participation by the common man and enabled the common man to voice issues of concern in a familiar language
  • Enabled the preservation of local customs, culture, and festivals. Over time, the people of India have come to cherish the myriad customs of different states.

 For example:  Chhath celebrations have become popular in Gujarat.

  • Centre wields its full authority and states cooperate in the same. With the help of popular language as tool, It has ensured outreach and participation of the masses in politics and administration thereby strengthening the state.
  • India succeeded by accommodating diversities(here lingual) as a strength within its national policy framework

(USSR failed to integrate Yugoslavia because linguistic and ethnic diversities were suppressed).

more demands for separate state

Negative  impacts

  • However, linguistic reorganization also led to several unintended consequences such as regionalism, linguistic chauvinism and foundation of the “Sons of the soil” doctrine.
  • States reorganization did not resolve all the problems relating to linguistic conflicts. Disputes over boundaries between different states, linguistic minorities and economic issues such as sharing of waters, and power and surplus food still persist.
  • The conflict on inclusion of village on rise. Ex: Belgaum was centre of conflict between Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • The regionalism emerged due to presence of historical pride, and this might lead to imbalanced development.

Conclusion

Barring these concerns, the division on linguistic basis has been a Success, considering the vast diversity of India and its success as a single nation. A smooth cooperative federalism and eliminating regional imbalance will make sure that the unity remains sustained forever.

 

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